Of Tundra Swans, Waterfalls, and Organic Cows
Monday, December 24th, 2007

Point Arena Lighthouse

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Point Arena Lighthouse
Lone Tundra Swan
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Lone Tundra Swan
A couple of days ago, I went down to Point Arena with Bruce because I heard that the tundra swans had returned to their local resting spot during migration. When we got down to the Garcia River, I was hoping I would see dozens of swans as I had in the past. On the south side of the river, there’s a huge green wetland that the tundra swans love. On Friday, though, there was only a single swan. Bruce thought he saw some off in the distance on the north side of the river, so we decided to return after visiting the Stornetta Preserve to see the waterfall after recent rains. It’s an easy mile-long walk out to the waterfall.

Stornetta Waterfall

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Stornetta Waterfall
Stornetta Waterfall Obscured by A Wave
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Stornetta Waterfall Obscured by A Wave
Stornetta Waterfall Obscured by A Wave
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Stornetta Waterfall Obscured by A Wave
Point Arena Lighthouse from the Stornetta Waterfall
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Point Arena Lighthouse from the Stornetta Waterfall

There was certainly more water coming off the waterfall than in the summer, but the real story was the ocean. The waves were at times quite large — large enough for the spray to obscure the waterfall! Unlike the last time we went down there, it was a sunny day, and we could see the Point Arena Lighthouse in the distance to the north.

Tundra Swans in the Field

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Tundra Swans in the Field
Tundra Swans are Very Skittish!
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Tundra Swans are Very Skittish!
More Tundra Swans on the Ground
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More Tundra Swans on the Ground
Dairy Cows at Stornetta Dairy
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Dairy Cows at Stornetta Dairy

After we headed back to the Garcia River wetlands, we went off on a side road on the north side of the river — but just around the bend, it was marked as Private Property. A man came along in a pickup as we were starting to turn around, and we asked if we could go in and take some pictures of the swans. He said it wasn’t his land, so we couldn’t get out there. But he urged us to follow him, and he took off. A couple of miles up the highway, he turned off on a dirt road towards the ocean. In a short while, we were entering the Clover Dairy — not only the sole dairy in the county, it’s also the only organic dairy in the county. He told us to join him in his truck, and he took us out a short distance to where the swans were hanging out in the fields. He introduced himself as Walt Stornetta, the owner of the dairy. He has about 400 cows on 550 acres of land. Each cow produces on average 67 pounds of milk — about 8 gallons a day. I felt really lucky to run into him like we did, and that he was so generous with his time.

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